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St Gevais les Bains anyone familiar?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
My family are now looking at "St Gevais les Bains" to book a half term apartment.

We're intermediates 4 adults and 1 child.

Does anyone have any views or tips on this venue?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
St Gervais is an attractive year-round town - not a ski resort, really. Not the most convenient skiing (basically it's lift up and down and some accommodation would mean quite a lot of walking - be sceptical about any "ski to the door" claims!). Lots of good intermediate skiing and lovely scenery . BUT..... it will be very crowded at half term (French school holidays). I have only skied the area a bit, from the Megeve side, but there are some SHs who know it better who will be along soon, I'm sure.
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@DrLawn,
We went last year the week before the English half term, nice place , lovely skiing but the morning gondola queues were pretty fierce.
I didn't actually ski much because of injury but those who did enjoyed it.
If you're using a car the car park fills very early, often easier to walk and pre-book a ski locker.
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@DrLawn, per @pam w, be very careful as to where the accom is. St Gervais-Les-Bains itself is somewhat distant from any skiing!

You want to be in St-Gervais-Mont-Blanc ... Even then ... you need to know how far you are from the Bettex lift.

@Jedster is certainly more in the know.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
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Cheers Guys & Gals,
I know that we will have to make some compromises as we want to try and do it on a budget with bus transfers from GVA.
I'm sending a link to this thread to my daughter.

This is the sort of useful stuff us snowheads are all about ...

The conkers are just about to start falling Very Happy
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DrLawn wrote:
Cheers Guys & Gals,
I know that we will have to make some compromises as we want to try and do it on a budget with bus transfers from GVA.
I'm sending a link to this thread to my daughter.

This is the sort of useful stuff us snowheads are all about ...

The conkers are just about to start falling Very Happy

If you're bussing some of the accommodation can be a bit of a distance from the gondola, I think there are busses , ours was a walkable distance but definitely easier having booked the ski locker so not having to walk in boots lugging skis half a mile up and down hill, but book on line in advance,they sell out.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
If you are still looking around for something of the sort in the area you could do worse than look at nearby Les Contamines which has its own separate ski area (not being part of the MB Evasion area would be a positive advantage at half term). I have never skied there at half term (and even when I still had an apartment in the French Alps I absented myself for the French holidays) but as a ski area it should suit your group very well. Great scenery (Mont Blanc in yer face). Some moderately challenging drag lifts. Accommodation is a bit strung out (a lot strung out, actually) but there are two lifts up and if you are near one of them, it should be fine. But it's not a ski in-ski out destination and I would generally download in a lift at the end of the day - the run down is not the easiest and often busy with people who can't ski.

In the final analysis, I would probably go to Italy rather than France especially if your half term coincides with one of the two Paris weeks.
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@T Bar, Locker?

I hope it was heated!!
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Hi @pam w, my family live in Zurich while we live in Cambridge ... and my granddaughter is just 6 with school half term being 9th Feb.

I'm letting my daughter and son in law choose the venue, they seem to be "zero'ing in" on this place because its not too bad to get to and the prices are reasonable.

I'm not going to argue about where to go ... I just want to try and give my granddaughter a few pointers before she gets too advanced for granddad to keep up. rolling eyes
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Quote:

In the final analysis, I would probably go to Italy rather than France especially if your half term coincides with one of the two Paris weeks.


I would be minded likewise. I would say it's not that much further, but the tunnel queue can be rather long (several hours) in hols. I think I'd be trying to find a way to ski France on Saturday on way out, overnight e.g. in IBIS Sallanches, and tackle the tunnel on the Sunday. Vice versa on way back.
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I would stay in the Megeve/Combloux area as it tends to open up more terrain. Megeve is expensive, but there are some "gems". Try the Demi-Quarter - between Megeve and Combloux with lift access to Mont Arbois
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
under a new name wrote:
@T Bar, Locker?

I hope it was heated!!

It was from memory.
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
@DrLawn,
We had friends who had bought an apartment there and we had stayed in it in the autumn and wanted to revisit as it is a lovely area.
One of our group is a school teacher so we are restricted to school holidays otherwise we would probably not have chosen it as a place to visit in peak time.
Apart from me being unable to ski we had a good time and I would thoroughly recommend the skiing.
Having said that I do agree with the comments above that your family should not underestimate how busy it can be and the queuing involved.
If you are prepared and able to make an early start and choose the quieter areas to ski this can be mitigated to an extent but should not be underestimated.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Quote:

I would stay in the Megeve/Combloux area as it tends to open up more terrain

I was minded to suggest Combloux earlier. The Combloux side will probably be quieter than the Megeve/St Gervais side and though it doesn't hold its snow that well it should be fine in February. That's the first week of the French holidays - zone B - much preferable to the zone C (Paris) weeks.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
The main things I remember about St Gervais les Bains are:

1. The queue in the morning from the lift at the bottom. Think 20-30 minutes of queuing for the lift at half term. After a few days we drove up to Le Bettex in the mornings as we had the luxury of a car. Some of the ski hire places at Le Bettex have lockers where you can leave your ski gear making the whole morning journey much easier. Le Bettex is where the ski schools will meet.

2. There are a few nice gentle greens at the top that are ideal for beginners and there's a nice long Blue / Green that goes all the way down to Megeve and is great for practicing on. It's typically in the sun and usually has plenty of soft gentle snow on the side for playing in as you get near the bottom. The lift back up never seemed to be too busy so our group skied this quite a bit with the children in the afternoon after lessons.

3. The Bettex side has a few nice slopes but is often in the shade so will be that bit colder than the Megeve side.

4. The run back down from the top to Le Bettex is a green but is narrow and a bit of a motorway at the end of the day with everyone coming down it. The run down from Le Bettex to the bottom is notionally a red but often lacks enough snow to make it ski-able and can be just ice and dirt. Take the lift down for this bit.

Writing this I have a feeling we've discussed this before so a search might find you more info.


Last edited by Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name: on Sat 15-09-18 11:38; edited 1 time in total
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I must stay in a different Saint Gervais, as apart from @olderscot, comments on the green down to Megeve I don't recognise any of the comments.
Sure if your a beginner then rule out the home run ( BTW it was open all last season) it is a tricky red & you will be gondola it down to town. As for morning queue up, I have never waited anymore than 10 minutes, sure it can be a long snaking queue but that gondola is a serious people mover and queue moves fast.
I have had friends who normally ski Morzine over & they could not believe the lack of crowds or queue's.
Just for clarity I don't rent my place so it not like I have any agenda to put a positive spin on it but for a family of intermediates with a child skier it is spot on. As with ant resort yes do check your chosen accommodation is within walking distance of the town otherwise someone is driving
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@Jonny996, It was definitely around thirty minutes when I went up on the gondola last year at half term time (Edinburgh half term as well as thats where my friend teaches)
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@T Bar, interesting as I was there Edinburgh half term, I go mon-mon. We're normally there about 8.45-9.00, maybe just after 9 it's a lot busier with everyone getting up to Bettix for 10 ski school starting.
The only other queue I Can think of is the 6 man chair up to the Folle Douce
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@Jonny996,
I like to get away early but some of the people i ski with are a little later and I suspect we were there around 9:30 but honestly cannot completely recall. As I said earlier most days I didn't ski as I damaged my knee my friends said that it wasn't too bad if you chose your spots but there were a few bad queues around.
I think it varied quite a bit day to day last year as the weather was very variable.
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We've made our mind up now ..(I think) Smile
We are heading for this place and renting a self catering apartment.

I like the idea of being right in the middle of the village where this is a bus stop.

What I'm wondering now is:
Are there regular bus connections along the valley to the other areas such as Les Houches, Megeve and even to Argentier ?
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@DrLawn, you ski to Megeve, that's simple. To get to Les Houches you have to either by road go back down hill to valley floor then along autoroute, approx 15 mins or you can take the mint blanc tramway up from village but that's not covered by ski pass & can be quite expensive.
Argentier is by bus down to la Fayette (5 mins) the regulars Chamonix train but with the big fire a Grand Monetes you may want to think twice about heading up there.
PDS, Let Gets ect is 30 mins by car.
Do get a good description of accommodation location as some are spread quite far out
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I don't know what the town of Saint Gervais is like but the one day I visited, I parked in one of the lots in San Nicolas de Veroce so I could shorten my time to get to higher runs over by Mont Joux. I liked that area... good mix of reds and blacks. Amazing views. Some of the lifts are slow and a bit too retro for my taste and that's where I ruptured my ACL. Looking out at the runs from high up, the resort feels more American than European so depending on your taste in skiing, that could be a good thing or a bad thing.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
You can also get a bus easily to spend the day in Les Contamines (this resort is included in the lift pass) If you go there choose a good weather day as it is high without trees.
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Saint Gervais must be nice as a town but as a launching point, maybe go to Les Contamines or San Nicolas. All seems so low, though.
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@ItaloSkier, Are you saying that from experience or from reading a piste map? LC & StG are on same pass but are not connected so if you launch from LC be prepared to stay there all day. As for starting in StN or Bettix, I don't understand why anyone would bother with the hassle of loading a car up & fighting for a parking space when you can simply walk to the gondola in StG & ride up.
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+1 In a busy week, when car park space will be at a premium and the roads busy, there is very little argument for going anywhere outside the St Gervais/Megeve/Combloux areas which can be accessed on skis or a short bus ride (Megeve/Combloux).
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Quote:
I don't understand why anyone would bother with the hassle of loading a car up & fighting for a parking space when you can simply walk to the gondola in StG & ride up.


Assuming you were within walking distance of the Gondola then I'd say the same thing but not all accomodation is that convenient though.

If you're driving anyway then there's nothing wrong with exploring a bit. One of the families in our group even drove round to Megeve because they'd booked their children into the BASS ski school over there and managed to park up for the day without problems. And this was at half term.

But if you have children in the group who will probably be in ski school then convenience for your main destination wins out for me every time.

Ski school raises an interesting point for the OP to consider though. We used ESF for our son and he was the only English speaker in a group of 12 children (even at UK half term) which didn't work out that well. My own ESF group was in English but we had 14-15 people in the group which was way too many. We haven't used ESF since.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Thanks fellow SnowHeads for coming back with such detailed and useful info, its great.

We are committed now and all booked up, We've found ourselves a bijoux self catering spot right in the middle of the village very close to the supermarkets etc. We intend to catch the bus to the lift station. I'm almost certainly going to fly to Geneva rather than drive down there.

We're not going to bother with ski school, I'll get my 6 year old granddaughter to give us a few pointers.
We'll probably start late in the morning after stuffing ourselves with Chox au pain and other goodies.

Although the kids will bring their own kit with them, granny and granddad will have to hire our skis, but I'm sure there will be plenty of locations in the village or is it best at the lift?

We'll have to rent a locker (my daughter has already booked it).

Is it a separate pass from the Les Houches area or is it even worth bothering trying to get around there?
Must rush now ... more questions later.
(I'd never even heard of this place till last week!)
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@DrLawn, great news, if the locker is the ones under the gondola then that's great & you'll probably walk in the morning, less then 5 minutes & you leave your boots in the locker.

With all the time Ive spent out there, approx. 100 days ive yet had the need to venture out of the EMB area, if I did then I think I would pass Les Houche & drive through tunnel to Italy.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@DrLawn,
Have a great time.
If you are fond of you're patisserie in the morning and like me you have accumulated tons of Euro small change, one tip is the baker's have a machine that counts your change, we used a lot up in the baker's each morning.
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 Poster: A snowHead
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@T Bar, I remember my youngest eyes lighting up when we ordered 3 shinny cakes & poured the change from the jar in, to find out we only needed about a quarter of the jars contents to pay for them.
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@T Bar, I remember my youngest eyes lighting up when we ordered 3 shinny cakes & poured the change from the jar in, to find out we only needed about a quarter of the jars contents to pay for them.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@Jonny996, The cakes aren't always cheap but they're great.
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@DrLawn,

The only place I'd consider getting the bus to is Les Contamines - it's a bit of a hassle to anywhere else. Think you'll find StG/Megeve/Combloux plus perhaps a day or two in Les C gives you plenty of variety. Les Houches is a different pass and using the tram to get there works out quite expensive.

Ski locker at the gondola works well (if that is what your daughter has booked). There are good hire shops in town. An option you could consider is using Claude Penz at Bettex (midstation) where you could leave your skis (and I suspect, boots) overnight. Probably a bit more expensive though.

My other standard advice is that eating lunch on the St G side of the mountain is MUCH better VFM than the Megeve side. Fleche d'Or Hotel at Bettex has sensational views from either the terrace or restaurant and reasonable prices.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Wow .. I'm feeling better and better about St Gervais now.
As I mentioned above, its a spot I've never been to, I only heard about this last week.

@Jonny996, I'm pretty sure its the locker at the bottom of the lift that she has booked.
Sorry I'll have to ask you what you mean by EMB area? I'm just guess its the local ski pass?
I'm looking forward to the cakes Razz

@T Bar, Looking forward t gobbling up all those centimes I've collected over the years.

@jedster, By what you guys are saying I wont feel the need to take buses anywhere.
So that will be one less thing to fret about.
I'll find out about Claude Penz, I'm very fussy about the skis I hire and changing them at the mid station sounds like a good option especially if I don't need them for anywhere else.
I'll check with my daughter where she booked the locker, but she did say it was "cheap at the station"

Thanks also for the Fleche d'Or tip, we'll have to go there on a clear day.

So the last thing to sort out is the weather, but that is something that you guys cant help me with.
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@DrLawn, the most important thing I would say to anyone unfamiliar with StG is DO NOT hire from the intersport in Bettix. There is nothing wrong with the gear or service but it is down 76 steel steps to the shop from the gondola & back up them in ski boots to get skiing.
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@Jonny996, is the stepy place you mention that the Claude Penz chap you mentioned?
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
No, Claude penz is at mid station and ok, only a few steps but if you do go there I think you'd want to store your skis there and not bottom gondola.
I always recommend nerey glisse to my friends
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Quote:

I'll have to ask you what you mean by EMB area?

Evasion Mont Blanc. There's really no point going from St Gervais/Megeve to Les Houches - if you were headed somewhere "for a change" going further up to the Grand Montets would make more sense - but then there's the problem of the burnt down lift. I like Les Contamines which has a different "feel" to it - and is much easier to get to - but, even so, there's masses to go at with St G, Megeve and Combloux.
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@pam w, the burnt down lift will only materially affect the top section. So you still have most of the GMs to play in.
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